"Era delar är min helhet" : En studie om att vara äldre och multisjuk
Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis is to describe what it means to be old and live with multimorbidity. An additional aim is to examine and describe the contextual meaning of the phenomenon in ordinary housing and nursing homes, and a third aim is to deepen our understanding of the situation for old people who also are ill. The thesis uses a caring science perspective and a reflective lifeworld approach founded on phenomenological philosophy. This approach searches for and describes the meaning of a phenomenon, its variations and its essential meaning structure. Interviews were used for data collection and data were analyzed for meaning, searching for the essence of the phenomenon. The findings are presented in two empirical studies and one philosophical excursion. The empirical studies have been further thematized with the essential meanings from the empirical studies. The philosophical excursion is the result of a more profound understanding of the thematized meanings.The essential meaning of being old and living with multimorbidity in ordinary housing is described as a struggle to maintain identity in a life situation that changes. Multimorbidity and aging pose existential barriers at the same time as the possibility of living an independent life and being oneself is hindered. Ordinary housing is experienced as a place where the old can be themselves, and a place that is associated with independence. On the other hand, multimorbidity threatens the possibility of continuing to live in their private homes, as does the failure of others to meet the old as individuals.The essential meaning of being old and living with multimorbidity in nursing homes is described as striving for independence which brings with it a zest for life and a feeling of security. The older’s degree of independence can change due to the fragile health situation, and is characterized by the experience of not being a burden for the busy caregivers and relatives. Independence can change to insecurity, vulnerability and helplessness.The themes of essential meaning that have been extracted from the empirical studies suggest that the experiences of frailty and loneliness differ more between those living in ordinary housing and in nursing homes than the experiences of trust and independence differ.The philosophical excursion illuminates how older people with multimorbidity experience their lives as an ability to manage their daily lives and not merely an absence of disease symptoms. A person is “just” sick, independently of the objective quantity of diseases s/he may suffer from. Health and wellbeing occur from the ability to live in existential coherence, which is encouraged when the older people are allowed to retain their habits, the ability to be oneself, individual’s life story and by social relationships, as well as by continuity among the caregivers.
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